Recently, I read an article that used an ancient metaphor of a man that asked God to make him stronger in order to be more useful. The metaphor says that God answered him and said, “I will answer your prayer tomorrow morning.” The man was so excited with anticipation that in the morning he would wake up with bulging muscles and the strength of a lion that he could hardly sleep that night. He woke up the next morning and rushed to the mirror to see his physique only to find that he was met by the same body he had gone to sleep in the night before.
He was so disappointed that he cried out to God and was angry with Him. “You told me you would answer my prayer in the morning and this morning, I am still the same weak man I was the last night.” God answered the man, “Go outside and look in front of your door.” In front of the man’s door was a huge boulder. God spoke to the man and said “Push the boulder.” The man complained and spoke of how impossible it would be to move such a rock, but God insisted, “Push the boulder.” The man pushed and pushed but the boulder would not budge.
Every night he prayed, “God make me stronger.” and God replied, “Push the boulder.” For three years this went on until finally one morning, the man awoke and went to the same mirror that he had looked at with disappointment for the past three years, and noticed his physique had changed and he had the muscles and strength that he had asked God to give him for three years. God answered his prayer by giving him a problem that was bigger than he could handle.
This mythological story illustrates the truth that the Apostle Paul gives to us in second Corinthians chapter twelve. Paul has been given abundant revelations that no one has seen or experienced before. His fear is that he will be “exalted above measure” and lifted up in pride and arrogance because of all that God has revealed to him. God does a work of grace in Paul’s life by giving him more than he can handle, He gives Paul a thorn in the flesh that shat shows him his weakness.
Paul was so overwhelmed by this thorn that he “besought the Lord thrice” to remove this overwhelming burden, but God did not remove the thorn. Instead, God allowed that which was more than Paul could handle to cause Paul to come to the end of his strength and begin to experience the strength and power of Almighty God.
Will God give you and me more than we can handle? Will He allow us to be overwhelmed with the “thorns” and circumstances of life? YES! He allows us to have more than we can handle with our own strength so that we can see Him handle the problems in life for us.
We have to come to the place where Paul came to in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
God’s power and God’s grace can be seen clearly only when we come to a place when we are not operating in our own power and energy, but we come to the end of ourselves and see His power at work. Today, God may have answered your prayer by giving you an overwhelming problem. There may be a boulder or a thorn that you see as a problem and hindrance to the answer of your prayer. The truth is, God may have given you the boulder or the thorn as the answer to your prayer!
Don’t waste the trial and overwhelming circumstances of life. Allow our loving God to use the problems that are greater than you can bear to develop your faith and see God’s power and grace active in your life.